Poking around the web I came across an index of wills for Oldham County, Kentucky — none of which this writer has seen. An email to the county clerk brought a swift reply, and copies were dispatched by post. As time allows, I’ll transcribe and publish them.
James Ballard was a son of Bland Williams Ballard of Shelby County, Kentucky (1759-1853).
The Last Will and Testament of James Ballard of Oldham County, Kentucky. Oldham County Ky. Will Book 2, p. 319.
I James Ballard of Oldham county being sick of body but of disposing mind do make this my last will and testament in manner following.
1st I desire that enough of my perishable property shall be sold to pay my burial expenses.
2nd I give to my beloved wife Elizabeth Ballard during her natural life my farm together with George Ann my negro girl and my negro boy Sam and at her death the said negro boy Sam I gave to my son Blan L. Ballard together with one half of my farm and the other half I give to my son James Thomas Ballard together with GeorgeAnn and her increase forever.
My negro man Squire and my negro woman Sarah must be hired our during the life time of my wife Elizabeth to pay my physicians for services rendered to me in my illness the balance to be used in the schooling of my son James Thomas Ballard & the support of my wife Elizabeth during her natural life.
I give to my daughter Elizabeth Williamson my negro boy Augustus during her natural life and at her death to go to the heirs of her body forever.
My negro boy Benjamin I give to my son Benjamin Ballard forever at the death of my wife my desire is that Squire Sarah and her future increase shall be sold & equally divided among all my children as soon as the business of John Shackleford shall be settled whatever may be derived therefrom I request it be equally divided among my above named children.
Lastly, I do hereby appoint my wife Elizabeth my sole Executrix.
N.B. I give to my son Benjamin Ballard my palomino filly. Witness my hand and seal this 26th day of November 1841. James Ballard
Witnesses: James Mount, John Ballard.
Kewntucky S.S. At a county court held for the county of Oldham on the 20th day of December 1841 a paper purporting to be the last will and testament of James Ballard dec’d was produced in court and proved to be such by the oaths of James Mount and John Ballard subscribing witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded which is done accordingly. Att Wm. D. Michell, Clk. by E. F. Waide
2 thoughts on “The Will of James Ballard of Oldham County, Kentucky (1783-1841).”
Wow, I know this was the “norm” for the time, but I feel ashamed that this was a reality regarding slavery. How sad.
What can you say? I find it interesting that the slave’s names are fairly conventional, which in my mind shows shifting attitudes toward people as chattel.
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